It’s almost time for free agent shopping to begin. Like with all big shopping days, people are going to be looking for great bargains.
We are all aware of the big names who will be available during the 2013 free agent shopping spree, but if teams are willing to dig deep enough, they’ll find franchise-changing players available for what amount to be bargain bin prices.
Here is my list of the top “bargain-bin” free agents who will be available when the free agent frenzy starts:
Quinton Mikell, Safety, St. Louis Rams — This is on the assumption that the rumors of his pending release are true. If so, Mikell makes this list due to the fact that he is coming off arguably the best season of his career, is younger than Ed Reed and Charles Woodson and should command less of a pay day than Dashon Golson. If you are in the market for a safety, there is not a better safety for your money than Mikell.
Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver, St. Louis Rams (pictured) — From a pure talent standpoint, he is as good as any receiver in the league. Many people label him as a poor man’s Wes Welker, but in reality, Amendola is bigger and faster than Welker and can do all of the same things, including stretch the field on the deep ball much better. The knock on Amendola is his durability, as he has suffered two injuries during the last two seasons that caused him to miss significant playing time. Fortunately, neither injury was to his legs, meaning he hasn’t lost a step and will continue to be an effective route runner.
Arthur Jones, Defensive End, Baltimore Ravens — Jones is a talented D-lineman who was often lost in the mix in the ultra-talented front seven of Baltimore. He still managed to be productive during his time there, including registering a sack and a fumble recovery in the Ravens Super Bowl win over San Francisco. At 26, Jones is still relatively young and like his brother Chandler, extremely teachable.
Delanie Walker, Tight End, San Francisco 49ers — Nicknamed the “Swiss Army Knife”, Walker can literally do it all. He can line up at the traditional tight end spot, move to the slot, play some fullback and excel on special teams. He’s a mix of Aaron Hernandez and Tom Crabtree and someone is going to steal him.
Rashad Jennings, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars — When Jennings is healthy, there are few if any backs in the NFL like him. The problem is that he’s never healthy. Last year, it looked like Jennings was going to secure the starting job in Jacksonville in the wake of the Maurice Jones-Drew holdout on the back of an outstanding preseason. Another year, another injury shortened season. He has no leverage to command big money. Who ever gets this guy for next to nothing might be landing the single biggest steal in free agency.
BY J.P. SCOTT ON MARCH 11, 2013